Vale Lorraine Orfanidis

The Zonta Club of Sydney is deeply saddened to have this week lost one of our most active and respected members, Lorraine Orfanidis. Lorraine was a member of Zonta Club of Sydney for 28 years and was Club President 2006 – 2009.

Lorraine was a compassionate and sincere person. Lorraine was the Advocacy Chair for the Club for many years and regularly updated club members on the wide range of women’s human rights issues taken up by Zonta International.  In particular her advocacy updates focussed on women affected by the justice system. 

She was the first to engage the Zonta Club of Sydney in matters to do with women affected by the criminal justice system. Lorraine previously had a beauty therapy business and lectured in the “Look Good; Feel Better” Program which provides aid to people undergoing treatment for cancer, with the programs run through oncology centres. She also lectured in TAFE for women who were looking to re-enter the workforce, which took her into many places including into prisons to assist women on their release.

Lorraine became more engaged in issues relating to prison reform and to women in prison.  Her work in social justice led to her undertaking her degree at UTS during which she studied for a semester in The Hague, then worked at the UNSW, and as Executive Officer to Chris Puplick when he was Anti -Discrimination Commissioner. Lorraine was a Board member and Chair of the Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) now the Women’s Justice Network.

Lorraine was part of the first collaboration between the Zonta Club of Sydney(ZCS) and The Sydney Community Foundation’s Sydney Women’s Fund(SWF) to hold a breakfast at Parliament House to support WIPAN.   This initiative was the beginning of what is now The Keeping Women out of Prison Coalition (KWOOP). 

The KWOOP Coalition advocates to reduce the number of women in prison in NSW and to minimise the impact on their families and children. Members of the ever-growing Coalition now include Zonta Club of Sydney, Sydney Community Foundation SWF, Community Restorative Centre, Deadly Connections, Success Works within Dress for Success, SHINE for Kids, Women’s Justice Network, Soroptimists NSW, Corrective Services NSW, Justice NSW, Justice Reform Initiative, Soroptimists NSW, Country Women’s Association NSW, National Council of Women NSW and a number of universities and academics. In recent years it was her initiative to approach the Soroptimists, CWA and NCW to join KWOOP which now has wide support across NSW.

Each year (except for 2020 due to COVID19) the KWooP coalition has held the “Empowering Women, Changing Lives” Breakfast at NSW Parliament House which continue as sold-out events, bringing together policy makers, legal experts, senior decision makers of the justice system and service deliverers.  The event raises political and social awareness and leads to action in social change.

Lorraine’s Zonta strategic leadership of the ZCS work with women affected by the criminal justice system evolved to become what is now the Zonta District 24 service project, Women in Prison, and a major focus of the Zonta Club of Sydney’s personal service. Lorraine was the driving force behind this work and was instrumental in having the project endorsed at the Zonta District 24 Conference in 2019. Lorraine was the Chair of the District service project on Women in Prison.

Lorraine was one of the ZCS representatives on the UNIFEM Australia (now UN Women Australia) Sydney IWD Breakfast Committee.  During Lorraine’s 20 years on the Committee, the breakfast grew from 600 attendees to 2000 and raised considerable funds to support women’s economic, political, and human rights in developing countries.

ZCS passes our sincere condolences to Lorraine’s daughters and family, as well as to all those who knew and loved her. We hope to continue her wonderful work and will remain inspired by her advocacy.

Club members Mary Root and Lorraine Orfanidis at ZCS 50th birthday celebrations 2016
Club President 2006-2009 Lorraine Orfanidis with the 40th birthday celebration cake 2006
Susan Copeland, Marg Bateman and Lorraine Orfanidis at ZCS 50th birthday celebrations 2016
Lorraine Orfanidis and Veronica Bondarew
Gloria Larman (WJN), Lorraine Orfanidis (Advocacy Chair ZCS) and Natasha Thompson (WJN)


  1. So sorry to hear of Lorraines passing. She was such a strong advocate for KWooP and was instrumental in getting it as a Zonta 24 service project.
    A woman who made her mark in the Zonta world.
    RIP Lorraine.


  2. Very saddened to hear of Lorraine’s passing. What a wonderful legacy she has left in her name, an amazing Zontian and will be deeply missed by many. RIP Bernardine Guy Area 1 Director D24


  3. My sincere condolences to ZC Sydney members and Lorraine’s family. She was passionate about KWOOP project, serving as the District Co-Ordinator for the project until her health caused her to step down. She leaves a lasting legacy of service to women and girls and will be missed. Karen Tromp, Governor


  4. I knew Lorraine for a short period of time. Our meetings to discuss matters in relation to KWOoP were fruitful and inspiring to me. I know that her legacy will long live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew her. Zontians will be inspired to continue Lorraine’s incredible work for many, many years to come. RIP Lorraine and thank you from us all.


  5. I’m very sad to hear about Lorraine. She was such a strong advocate for womenrights and especially working with women in prison project KWOOP. She will be dearly missed by her Zonta friends . My condolences to her family .


  6. Sad news indeed…Lorraine was a passionate advocate for women in the prison system…..D24 KWooP project is a testimony to her determination and perseverance to make a difference in the lives of women impacted by the criminal justice system…hopefully clubs in D24 will support and continue her passion in this area. My sympathy to Lorraine’s family and friends


  7. Lorraine cared about the plight of women who were being trafficked into Autralia. She worked with Zonta Club of Sydney Hills and other Zonta clubs to establish a District Service project to support these women. Lorraine also helped to raise Governmental awareness of the extent of women being trafficked into this country, and needing justice and support. RIP Lorraine


  8. So sad to hear of Lorraine’s death. She was the driving force behind the KWooP project and never wavered or hesitated in getting this project up. It’s up to us to continue this work. May her passion and advocacy live on.


  9. Very sad and shocked to hear about Lorraine’s passing. Lorraine was a committed and active Zontian whose support for projects that assisted women in the criminal justice system was nothing short of amazing. My condolences to her family and her fellow Zontians in the ZC Sydney. We are all better for having known her


  10. Such sad news to hear of Lorraine’s passing. We had many discussions about support to women exiting custody and shared experiences working in similar areas. Condolences to Lorraine’s family and Club members. She will be remembered for her passion and dedication to support women’s causes.
    Jean Dally, Lt Gov D24 ( 2020 – 2022)


  11. So sad to hear the news of Lorraine’s passing. She was a dedicated, kind and active leader whose support for Zonta and it’s objectives was inspiring. She believed in “what could be” and never gave up. Her legacy will go on and she will not be forgotten. Loving thoughts to all family and friends. RIP dear Lorraine.


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